“No other state has suffered environmental pollution and degradation as Bayelsa state as a result of oil exploration."
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, has on 5 – 11 September, 2021, embarked on a one-week working visit to four States of the federation as part of the UN’s support to Nigeria’s development aspirations at the sub-regional level.
The visit which took him and his delegation to Rivers and Bayelsa in the South-South; and Anambra and Enugu in the South-East, provided an opportunity to reinforce the partnership between the UN and the sub-national Governments to address the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and accelerate implementation of the SDGs to build back better; and to continue to create durable solutions for economic transformation in the States.
Mr Kallon was received by the Governor of Bayelsa, Governor of Bayelsa State, H.E. Douye Diri; Governor of Anambra State, H.E. Willie Obiano; Deputy Governor of Rivers State, H.E. Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; and Deputy Governor of Enugu State, H.E. Lolo Cecelia Ezeilo.
In Bayelsa State, Mr Kallon emphasised the need for the state government to provide leadership platforms for women to be able to present issues affecting women and girls in the state especially women in the rural communities on issues relating to women’s rights protection and GBV prevention.
“I encourage Bayelsa State Government to end gender-based violence; provide opportunities for young people; and continue to work on sustaining State economic empowerment and training for women especially in rural communities.” He said.
In his remarks, the Governor of Bayelsa State, H.E. Senator Douye Diri, sought the help of the UN in tackling environmental pollution and degradation; incessant flooding as well as scaling up implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“No other state has suffered environmental pollution and degradation as Bayelsa state as a result of oil exploration. Despite the tremendous contribution of Bayelsa to the nation’s commonwealth, Bayelsa people are as poor as the world’s poor.” Governor Diri explained.
While in Anambra State, Mr Edward Kallon, and Anambra State Governor, Chief Obiano, inspected the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport in Umueri, Anambra State.
"The airport has the 2nd longest runway in Nigeria, after Murtala Muhammed Int'l airport, Lagos; and the tallest control tower in Nigeria, and cast in concrete while the staircase is fire proof." Governor Obiano explained.
Mr Kallon commended the Anambra State Government for its investment in the Aviation sector. "This airport will open up the neighbouring communities and the State for increased social and economic activities. I call on the State Government to invest aggressively in micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to reap the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In support of the efforts of the government, the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM), committed to deploying Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) at the airport when it becomes fully operational for international flights. This was announced by the Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms. Prestage Murima at the interactive session with the Governor. MIDAS is a user-friendly and customizable Border Management Information System (BMIS).
In Enugu, Mr Kallon urged the State Government to put into action bold and effective changes to restructure and reform the State health institutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
He commended the government for domesticating the Child Rights Act, Violence against Person (Prohibition) Act, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act; and called on the Government to domesticate the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, which was signed into law by the President in 2019, to provide and strengthen the legal framework for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Deputy Governor thanked the United Nations system in Nigeria for its work in the country. She added that Enugu State needed the UN more than ever before.
In his engagement with UN Staff members in the field offices, Mr Kallon urged them to channel efforts to areas where their interventions would make an impact in the lives of the people.
“Let’s strive to make a significant impact in the lives of the common people”, the UN Resident Coordinator told UN staff members at a mini townhall meeting held on Friday, 10 September, at the Enugu UN Office, as part of activities during his working visit to Enugu State.
“Please continue serving humanity. Continue making impact in the lives of the people.” He added.
Mr Kallon, was accompanied by WHO Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo; UNAIDS Country Representative, Dr Erasmus Morah; Country Representative- UN Women, Ms. Comfort Lamptey; IIOM Deputy Head of Mission, Ms. Prestage Murima; and other technical staff.